A FULL-to-capacity dog rescue charity has spent tens of thousands of pounds on a TV advert in a desperate bid to make room for more abandoned animals.
Whitehall Dog Rescue, in Cave Lane, East Ardsley, has resorted to high profile advertising in the hope that some of its 35 abandoned dogs, some which have been residents at the facility for over four years, can be rehomed.
Brian Wheelhouse, the rescue’s owner, believes the number of dogs being abandoned in the city is at its worst level since he started rescuing animals 21 years ago.
The rescue is receiving over 70 calls a week from people wanting rid of their dogs but until its animals are rehomed, the rescue is powerless to help.
Mr Wheelhouse, 51, said: “We’ve tried everything, it’s not like they are bad dogs.
“If it gets one of those dogs out into a forever home it’s a job well done and money well spent.”
He said the package of advertisements, which show some of the dozens of dogs at Whitehall waiting for a home, cost around £30,000 and will be broadcast during ITV1’s daytime schedule up until February 26.
It is hoped a successful ad campaign will help the charity receive more donations and crucially allow it to return to the region’s dog pounds to save animals from being put down.
More than 3,000 dogs have been impounded by Leeds City Council dog wardens since 2009, while the stretched service put down over 250 dogs in 2011 – a 150 per cent rise on the year before.
Mr Wheelhouse said: “These dogs are dying, they have not done anything to deserve to be put to sleep and if we can manage to do these adverts to save a dog, that’s what it’s all about.
“If it starts rehoming two or three dogs, if you think about how much it costs to look after a dog for a year, it becomes value for money. It definitely calls for desperate measures because we rely mainly on our website and we are just not getting the right type of people coming forward.”
He said several fundraising events and donations have helped gather the funds to pay for the adverts, which were produced by London-based Media Circus.
Bull terrier cross Hector, who has been at the rescue for four and a half years, is one of the dogs featuring heavily in the adverts.